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Violette Szabo Museum

675. Rosemary Rigby

Rosemary Rigby MBE has created a unique museum and memorial to a forgotten Second World War heroine after discovering the cottage in her garden was once Violette Szabo's holiday home.

Violette was a French-born British agent who undertook a number of daring undercover missions in France before being captured by German troops and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp where she was executed aged 23.

Rosemary has dedicated herself to telling Violette’s story in an exhibition of photos and artefacts housed in the cottage. A specially protected liquid amber tree in the grounds stands as a memorial to Violette’s extraordinary life and service. 

Over 2000 people attended the museum opening in June 2000 and it is visited by people from all over the world. Rosemary’s award coincides with the 72nd anniversary of Violette’s death. 

Rosemary received her MBE for her service to the RNIB.

In a personal letter to Rosemary, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“The memorial and museum you have created is preserving the memory of a little known war hero who bravely gave her life in service to this country. Your remarkable project is keeping the story of Violette’s extraordinary life alive for future generations.”

Rosemary said:

“May I say how very delighted I am to accept this unique honour from the Prime Minister, Theresa May. This joy recognises the endless years of hard work which preceded it!”

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